Zambia is waging a fierce campaign against sex dolls, threatening offenders with heavy jail terms over the dolls which, it says, are “very unnatural”.
“No one sells them openly, no one admits to owning one, and no one has been arrested,’’ report said.
The government launched the crackdown on the sex toys last month.
The action has propelled the issue of sex dolls to the top of the news agenda and made them a hot topic of conversation and debate on social media, dividing opinion in the largely conservative southern African country.
“Being a Christian nation, obviously we are anchored in Christian principles and one of the values is morality and ethics,” Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Godfridah Sumaili , said.
Selling or using a sex doll is against Zambian law, she said, vowing to ensure they are not bought on the internet and imported.
“The use of sex dolls is definitely in contradiction to our natural heritage and our principles,” Sumaili added.
“The law actually forbids anybody to trade (in) and to use such objects — and so this is why we are saying for Zambians that this is a very unnatural thing.”
The minister said the ban was necessary after media reports emerged of sex dolls being imported into Zambia, apparently from Asia. Police are investigating, she added.
In recent months, Zambia’s independent and semi-official press have devoted many column inches to reports of sex shops popping up around the capital Lusaka selling sex dolls, as well as chronicling the backlash.
“God created man and woman for sexual satisfaction — but for a man or woman to use a lifeless object is immoral,” Sumaili said.
“Let’s not import foreign beliefs and experiences. Let us just believe in what we are.”
The manufacture of sex dolls has become increasingly sophisticated, with China developing custom-made “smart” dolls that can talk, play music and turn on dishwashers.
Sex dolls’ inventors say they can cure loneliness and help elderly men who lack female companionship.
In Zambia, the dolls made of silicone were reportedly in a variety of shapes and shades, but could not be found in any shops.